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Thursday, March 19, 2015, Chaitra 5, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 27, 1436 Hijr

Dhaka lodges protest with Delhi over low Teesta flow
Staff Correspondent
Published : Thursday, 19 March, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 29
Expressing dissatisfaction over getting the lowest share of water in the Teesta River this season, Bangladesh lodged protest to India recently.
However, Delhi is yet to take any steps to ensure proper share of the water in the river informing Dhaka that water flow is low due to inadequate rain.
Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud on Wednesday made this remark while addressing a seminar on water management.
Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) under the Water Resources Ministry, International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group and 2030 Water Resources Group jointly organised the seminar on 'multi-stakeholder engagement on water resources management in Bangladesh' at a hotel in Dhaka.
Anisul Islam Mahmud said, "There is only about 300 cusec (cubic feet per second) water flow in the Teesta River now. It is not a real international share of water. There was much water in the river Teesta during the period in the past."
The Teesta saw the lowest-ever water flow during this dry season, the minister said, adding, "We've seen a drastic fall in water flow in the river.  Actually, what I want to say, the Teesta saw the lowest 300 cusecs of water flow this dry season, while it was around 1,500-1,800 cusec during the same period in the previous years."
Mahmud said that farmers of the areas, dependent on Teesta water, were seriously being affected in irrigation. The people of the areas are also leading a miserable life due to inadequate water in the river.
When asked whether Bangladesh made any protest to India, the Minister said, "Bangladesh is unhappy over the sharing of Teesta river water this season. We have already protested to India for the lowest share of water in the river. A protest letter was sent to India through the Foreign Ministry in this connection. But, India informed us that water flow is low due to inadequate rain."
Rejecting India's pleas, Mahmud said, "We are not satisfied with India's reply. It's not true that water flow will be low due to inadequate rain."      
Mahmud said he is optimistic about signing the much-awaited  Teesta water sharing treaty with India to secure Bangladesh's proper share of water from the common river.
"During former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh in September 2011, the then Indian Prime Minister made a commitment to sign the Teesta water sharing treaty, at a public meeting. I think the Indian government will respect it," the minister added.
The Minister also said Pashchimbanga Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had earlier opposed the Teesta water sharing deal, visited Bangladesh recently and said she has no objection to signing the treaty rather she will cooperate in this regard.
Anisul Islam Mahmud said: "I hope the Indian central government and that of Pashchimbanga will stay on their promises."
Among others, State Minister for Water Resources Nazrul Islam and WARPO Director General Salim Bhuiyan spoke at the seminar.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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